National Historic Landmark
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A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, site, structure, or object that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding degree of historical significance. Out of over 85,000 places that have been listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places only about 2,500 are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.
A National Historic Landmark District (NHLD) is a historic district that has received similar recognition. The district may include contributing properties that are buildings, structures, sites or objects, and it may include non-contributing properties. Contributing properties may or may not also be separately listed.
==Creation of the National Historic Landmark program==
Prior to 1935, efforts to preserve cultural heritage of national importance were made by piecemeal efforts of the United States Congress. In 1935 Congress passed the Historic Sites Act, which authorized the Interior Secretary authority to formally record and organize historic properties, and to designate properties as having "national historical significance", and gave the National Park Service authority to administer historically significant federally owned properties.〔Robinson, Nicholas. ''Environmental Regulation of Real Property'', Volume 1. New York: Law Journal Press, 1982. pp. 6:22–23.〕 Over the following decades surveys such as the Historic American Buildings Survey amassed information about culturally and architecturally significant properties in a program known as the Historic Sites Survey.〔Lee, Antoinette Josephine. ''The American Mosaic: Preserving a Nation's Heritage''. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-8143-2719-7. p. 7〕 Most of the designations made under this legislation became National Historic Sites, although the very first designation, made December 20, 1935, was for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri. The first National Historic Site designation was made for the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on March 17, 1938.〔McDonnell, Janet; Mackintosh, Barry. ''The National Parks: Shaping the System''. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2005. ISBN 978-0-912627-73-1. p. 52〕
In 1960 the National Park Service took on the administration of the survey data gathered under this legislation, and the National Historic Landmark program began to take more formal shape.〔Frank, Karolin; Petersen, Patricia. ''Historic Preservation in the USA''. Berlin: Springer, 2002. ISBN 978-3-540-41735-4. p. 66〕 When the National Register of Historic Places was established in 1966, the National Historic Landmark program was encompassed within it, and rules and procedures for inclusion and designation were formalized. Because listings (either on the National Register, or as an NHL) often triggered local preservation laws, legislation in 1980 amended the listing procedures to require owner agreement to the designations.〔Robinson, p. 6:24〕
On October 9, 1960, 92 properties were announced as designated NHLs by Secretary of the Interior Fred Andrew Seaton. The first of these was a political nomination: the Sergeant Floyd Monument in Sioux City, Iowa was officially designated on June 30 of that year, but for various reasons, the public announcement of the first several NHLs was delayed.
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